The Comprehensive Guide to Tires


Widely regarded as one of the best All terrain truck tires on the market.

William J. Rathe, Senior Staff Writer/ Fact Checker

Every single car on the road today is different. They have different engines, transmissions, gear levers, seats, and stereos. In the world of such extraordinary variety of automobiles, they do share one thing in common. Every single car, from a hybrid Toyota Prius to an 11,000 horsepower supercharged Top Fuel Dragster, relies on a set of tires to move.


Tires are one of the most important aspects of any vehicle. Your car relies on the tires to push the car forward, to slow it down, to grip around corners, to absorb bumps and divots, and to give a quiet smooth ride. Because tires play such a vital role in the functionality, performance, and safety of your vehicle, it is very important to ensure your tires are in good shape and inflated properly.


Any quick glance at the tires of students at Erie High School and reveal some shocking and concerning things. Many students have old, worn out tires. Not only is a bad tire a detriment to the driver’s safety, it’s a danger to everyone on or near the road when the car drives. With tires being so important, every person needs to be able to identify conditions of their tires and determine if they are safe. Correctly identifying tire conditions can not only save lives, it can save time and money. 


So here are the most important things to look for:

  • Tread Depth
  • Uneven wear
  • Age of tire (DOT)
  • Punctures
  • Air pressure


So, how do you look for these things?

Tread Depth 


The easiest way to measure tread depth, or the thickness of the rubber, is with a penny. Put a penny upside down into the tread with Abe Lincoln’s head facing you. Look at the penny eye level with the tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires. Seeing the top of his head means you have less than 2/32nds of an inch of tread left, which is deemed unsafe by all tire shops, police officers, and the Department of Transportation.


Uneven Wear


If you notice a bumpy ride and/or steering wheel wobble, your tires may be wearing poorly. It’s always good to look at your tread and see how it is wearing. If it wears more in the middle, your tires are over-inflated and you need to lower the pressure in them. If they wear more on the outside, your tires are underinflated and you need to increase the pressure. If they wear one one side more than the other, you need to get an alignment done. Tires wearing in this way is a symptom of the wheel not sitting flat on the road.


Age or DOT


If you look on the sidewall of your tire you will most likely see the DOT or Date of Tire. It will usually look something like DOT PJ04 3517. You only need to look at the last four numbers. The DOT reads week of year, then the year. The example of 3517 would be the 35th week of 2017. According to Discount Tire Company, it is recommended to replace tires six years or older, and that tires 10 years or older are considered unsafe and unserviceable. As long as your tires are younger than 2013, you have nothing to worry about.




A quick look over of your tire can reveal if you have a nail or a ‘foreign object’ in your tire. An object in the tire can cause an air leak, meaning your tire will almost never be at the correct pressure. If one tire is consistently lower than the others, go to Discount Tire and ask for a free flat repair. They can patch the tire correctly and ensure your tire will last just as long as it should.


Air Pressure


The pressure in your tires can change how much grip they give you, how they wear, and can make a huge impact on fuel economy. Almost always, your car will tell you the air pressure required for your vehicle in the door jam or in the owner’s manual. Discount tire offers free air checks, and can find out the correct pressure for your tires even if you have a big lifted truck with massive tires.


The kind of tire you buy is also important for optimal performance. If you have a sports car, you don’t want mud terrain tires. If you have a Jeep you take offroading, you don’t want drag radials. Here’s a breakdown of the most common kinds of tires and what they do.


Passenger Car tires


 These are basic and fairly grippy tires designed to give good grip in dry or rainy conditions. They wear the slowest of any kind of tire. These range from $50-$1000+ per tire.


All Season tires


 These are essentially passenger car tires designed to work in dry, rainy, and snowy conditions. These also range from about $50 to over $1000 per tire.


Performance tires


These are low profile, or thin, tires designed to give maximum grip on pavement for high performance cars. These tires usually wear faster than a standard passenger car tire, and are more expensive. These range from $100-$1200 per tire. 


All Terrain tires


These are tires with “aggressive tread,” meaning that the shape and thickness of the rubber is bigger than the average passenger car tire. These come in small and large sizes, so it is important to make sure they make them in your size before purchasing anything. These range from $120-$1000 per tire.


Mud Terrain tires


 These are similar to All-terrain tires, but even more aggressive and with large separate lugs of rubber on the tread, meant to give as much grip in mud and clay. These are usually not great on paved roads, so be sure to consider the pros and cons of Mud terrains on your vehicle. These range from $150-$1500 dollars, and are almost always only available in larger sizes of tires, meaning they will not fit on passenger cars, SUVs and Trucks.


All of this information may be overwhelming or confusing, but don’t worry. Tiger Times’ very own Senior Staff Writer and Fact Checker William Rathe and multiple EHS students work at Discount Tire Company, located at 740 US-287, Lafayette, CO 80026. 

Discount Tire in Lafayette has 4.4 stars with 202 reviews, most praising fast service, great customer service, and the free flat repairs and rotations. If you need wheels and tires, a flat tire repaired, tires inflated, or just someone to look over your tires and make sure they are safe, Discount tire is the best place in the area. Not to mention, you can get a 20 percent discount on your services if you are friends with EHS students that currently work at Discount Tire:

Service Coordinator Beau Miley, Senior

Crew Chief William Rathe, Senior

Crew Chief Caleb Glaze, Junior

Crew Chief Tyler Summers, Senior

Crew Chief Jack Williamson, Senior

Service Technician Nicholas Evans, Senior

Service Technician Hayden Goodman, Senior


If you mention that one of the students above sent you, you will most likely receive a 20 percent discount on whatever you purchase.


If you have any concerns about your tires or need a service completed, go down to Discount Tire in Lafayette to get it done as soon as possible, especially before winter hits. Tires need to always be in tip top shape, otherwise it could lead to serious injury or death for yourself or others.